Does the accessibility of supermarkets change the diets of those living in poorer, inner-city suburbs with previously less access to fruit and vegetables? Do diets improve due to the proximity of larger supermarkets with their superior choice of food?
Dr Simon Rudkin of School of Management, embarked on this research and captured a variety of data through methods including questionnaires. This built a picture of household income, employment status and access to a motor vehicle.
Dr Rudkin found the impact of the supermarkets didn’t affect the eating behaviours of those surveyed, in fact a wider choice made those who had healthy eating habits consume more fruit and vegetables whilst those with poor diets consumed a greater quantity of unhealthy items.
The claim, by supermarkets, that they would foster healthy eating habits was disproved by this research. Lower prices offered by supermarkets did result in greater consumption, but, not of healthy food for those with poor diets. Dr Rudkin said: “Planning permission for supermarkets is granted on the grounds that they will improve health. This research reveals that this benefit was not in reality, achieved, and that a more holistic approach, looking at a variety of factors would need to be taken, to determine the health benefits of supermarkets.”